Eileen Fisher: GigaMom


How To Run A Facebook Contest

Break the rules, lose your page

There are three things in this world that make me simultaneously cringe and shake my head back and forth in a WTF motion: Bad drivers, blue cheese, and Facebook contests that are run incorrectly.

It’s been over a year and a half since Facebook did some serious tightening up of their promotion guidelines. Before that, the guidelines were a tad more lax & fan pages/brands were able to run “sweepstakes” and contests simply by posting a status and getting people to comment or like the status.

That’s not allowed anymore and it hasn’t been allowed for a long time. But brands continue to do it. It’s driving me crazy.

When I read, “Click like on this post to be entered to win!” or “Leave a comment on this photo and we’ll pick a winner from all comments!"...

… that’s when my kids hear me release the biggest frustrated sigh ever and start comparing people to blue cheese again. And they know how much blue cheese makes me cringe.

The first few times I noticed brands doing it, I did the responsible GigaMom thing and sent them a little message to give them a heads up. I was absolutely gobsmacked when almost all of them replied back to me with “Oh, we know but we’ll take our chances. It’s just easier to do it this way.”

Here’s the kicker. If you don’t follow Facebook’s promotion policy on your fan page, they can shut you down. Yup. Shut you down. Eliminate your brand’s page that took you years to cultivate. You’ll lose ALL of your fans and have to start again from scratch. Is that really worth the risk? No. No, it isn't.

To run a contest on Facebook, you need to create it via a separate third-party app, like Shortstack or Wildfire. Apps are very easy to make with these third-party clients and once you get into making one and find out what kind of possibilities it opens up for you and connecting with the fans on your page, you’ll kick yourself for not doing it a year and a half ago when you were supposed to.

Running a promotion on Facebook isn’t hard and to be honest, if you value how important your Facebook page is for your business or brand, you should take the short amount of time needed to find out what you can and can’t do on your page.

If you want to take a look and see how YMC does Facebook contests, we’ve got one running right now—it closes on September 14th so hurry up and get over there!

You can read Facebook’s promotion guidelines here. Learn it, live it, love it.

And don’t ever make me think of blue cheese again. Please.